Bob Geldof joins campaigners to ask: Did G8 drop the debt?

 Sir Bob Geldof will be among campaigners returning to Birmingham today, to mark the fifth anniversary of the historic Human Chain when 70,000 demonstrators surrounded world leaders at the G8 summit to call for an end to Third World debt. Supporters of Jubilee Debt Campaign , CAFOD, Tearfund, and World Development Movement will be among those taking part in a day of events reflecting past achievements, but also demanding that the 2003 G8 summit end the debt crisis still harming the world's poorest countries. G8 leaders pledged in 1999 to cancel only a third of what campaigners were asking for. But only 20 percent of that pledge has been met. Bob Geldof said: "G8 leaders must end the scandal of third world debt. Impoverished, hungry and dying people are still spending millions on debt repayments that can be used for schools, hospitals, and farms. One hundred per cent debt relief must be the achievable aim." A new report called 'Did the G8 Drop the Debt?' will be launched . There will be an 11am press conference at Birmingham and Midlands Institute Margaret Street, Birmingham, near the Town Hall . The report looks back at the last five years and outlines the steps the G8 leaders need to take at their summit in Evian in June. CAFOD,s Director Julian Filochowski said: "Debt cancellation has to be based on human development needs and not on what is politically acceptable to rich country creditors. Those needs are so great that it means the G8 leaders must cancel the debt of the poorest countries immediately." The report calls for an end to the privatisation and liberalisation conditions linked to debt relief that harm the poor, the creation of a fair procedure for poor countries if they become insolvent in the future, and the creation of a World Debt Day. Gordon Brown will address the gathering via a pre-recorded video. Ashok Singha, national co-ordinator of JDC said: "We welcome the Chancellor's concern that more resources need to be found for debt cancellation and for meeting the Millennium Development Goals, especially if this leads to full cancellation of the unpayable debts of the poorest countries. However these resources must be in addition to aid, and come without potentially damaging strings attached."

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